Yuko Ota, ISTD
Yuko with Bill Davies
Yuko was born in Nagoya Japan. Her Father was an engineer and inventor. Her mother is a housewife and she has a younger sister. Yuko excelled scholastically and attended “Nagoya City University”, where she received a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Science. Her passion to do good brought her to her current position at the University of Maryland where she is an assistant professor and doing research on the evolution of the immune system.
Her journey in dance started at age 8 with ballet classes. It was the pretty
costumes that caught her eye. She simply wanted to wear pretty costumes.
By age 12, she was dancing on point. This gave her all the fundamental
techniques needed for her to create the beautiful musical pictures and satisfy her desire for emotional expression. Her experimentation in other types of dancing, jazz and modern enhanced her well-rounded knowledge. Even with all of this experience, she always felt there was something missing. Nothing really felt natural to her. She didn’t know at the time that all her dance training, at such a young age, was just a prelude to what was to become the dance passion of her life...“Ballroom Dancing”,“DanceSport”.
The opportunity to meet “Ballroom Dancing” came when she least expected it, in the summer of 1989, when she was an exchange student in St. Petersburg, Florida. She met a Japanese woman there who took her
to a dance party and pushed into the arms of a young good-looking dance instructor. Before she knew it she booked her first Ballroom Dance lesson and immediately fell in love with Ballroom Dancing.
She started with American Style, but shortly after that, included International Style, which she later learned was competition dancing. Then came another lucky break. She met one of the Legends of Ballroom Dance, Larry Silvers. Receiving her early training from such a great dancer and teacher gave her a solid foundation. Larry’s knowledge of dancing was unimaginable and she only scratched the surface of the depth of his expertise. Unfortunately he passed away from a long battle with cancer. Yuko was his last trainee.
During the time with Larry, Yuko was actively competing with one of the young instructors, former Junior Champion, Tommy Rizzo De Tomaso,who Larry had trained. Dancing with Tommy and training with Larry, resulted in a very successful partnership .
After spending 4 and a half years in St. Petersburg, Florida, she decided to move to Miami, where she started teaching, dancing and performing shows at the “Kendall Dance Studio”. During this time, she received her training in choreography and formation dancing.
When she moved to Baltimore, she began taking coaching from one of Larry's competition rivals and 10 Dance Champion, Joe Jenkins. She benefited from their different ideas and styles of teaching and was fortunate to have had many years under Joe's guidance until his tragic and unexpected death.
After that she found Bill Davies, another fierce competitor from the 60's, who she had heard about for years. Bill has been teaching for over 50 years and his ideas were far different from what she had previously learned. But his deep understanding of dancing and how dance partnership works is truly unique. He has a way of getting anyone to dance beautifully and musically and she feels she is learning to dance more beautifully than ever before.
She considers herself very lucky to have had these three exceptional coaches and to have received such great training for more than 25 years. In general, the more she understands dancing, the happier she feels. She continues to take coaching classes and plans to continue improving her dancing as well as her own methods of teaching. She wants to pass on her experiences and knowledge, whether it be in social or competitive dancing, to as many people as possible.
She is currently looking for a Dance Partner who will be willing to test the waters, to see how really beautifully they could dance.
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